The richest (and poorest) places in the U.S.

Maryland knocked New Jersey out of the top spot this year, while Mississippi and West Virginia were the poorest states in the Union.

By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Maryland is now the wealthiest state in the union, as measured by median household income, according to the latest stats from the Census Bureau.

The typical Maryland household earned $65,144 in 2006, propelling it past New Jersey, which came in second with earnings of $64,470, but had led the nation in 2005. Connecticut finished in third place both years, recording a median income of $63,422 in 2006.

Top 10 wealthiest states
Here's where the median household income is highest
State Income
Maryland $65,144
New Jersey $64,470
Connecticut $63,422
Hawaii $61,160
Massachusetts $59,963
New Hampshire $59,683
Alaska $59,393
California $56,645
Virginia $56,277
Minnesota $54,023
Source:U.S. Census Bureau
The 10 poorest states
The states with the lowest median household income
State Income
New Mexico $40,629
Montana $40,627
Tennessee $40,315
Kentucky $39,372
Louisiana $39,337
Alabama $38,783
Oklahoma $38,770
Arkansas $36,599
West Virginia $35,059
Mississippi $34,473
Source:U.S. Census Bureau

Maryland's income was nearly double that of Mississippi, which, with a median of $34,473, was the nation's poorest state. West Virginia, where the median household earned $35,059, was second poorest and Arkansas, at $36,599, was third.

The median income for the United States as a whole came to $48,451.

Household incomes rose, but . . .

Income growth was highest in the District of Columbia, where it rose 6.4 percent for the year. Median income in both Nevada and New Mexico jumped 4.5 percent. Delaware, down 2.9 percent, took the biggest dip, followed by Rhode Island (down 2.0 percent) and Maine (down 1.6 percent).

Among places with 250,000 or more residents, the affluent Dallas suburb of Plano, Texas, boasts the highest median income: $77,038. San Jose came in second at $73,804 and San Francisco was third with $65,497.

Paychecks in 2008: No big bump

The list of the 10 poorest cities was filled with mostly old, northeastern and mid-western industrial locales. Cleveland had the lowest median income of any city in the nation with more than 250,000 residents; households there earned just $26,535. Miami was the next poorest at $27,088, followed by Buffalo ($27,850), Detroit ($28,364), St. Louis ($30,936) and Cincinnati ($31,103).

Other poor sun-belt cities included Memphis ($32, 593) and El Paso (33,103). With median income of $33,229, Philadelphia was the only city among the nation's 10 biggest that was also among the 10 poorest cities.

The middle class may be better off than it thinks.

Among towns of between 65,000 and 250,000 in population, Yorba Linda, California, where six-figure incomes are the rule, had the highest median income at $121,075. The Orange County town is considerably wealthier than the second place city, Pleasanton, California, in the Bay area, which had a median income of $105,956.

The lowest income town of any with more than 65,000 population was Youngstown, Ohio at $21,850, which finished last by a large margin. Muncie, Indiana was its closest rival for this dubious distinction, with residents there earning $25,859, a difference of 18 percent. Top of page